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'Unite with Russia against radical Islam', Blair urges

Tony Blair will speak today about the threat posed by radical Islam.
Tony Blair will speak today about the threat posed by radical Islam. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA

The West must put aside differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on tackling the threat from radical Islam, Tony Blair is set to warn.

Failing to "take sides" with moderates in the Middle East and North Africa could mean the 21st century is dominated by conflict rather than peaceful co-existence, he will say.

Mr Blair is due to make the intervention in a speech at Bloomberg in London this morning.

It comes with tensions still running high in eastern Ukraine, and after Russia was jettisoned from the G8 group of nations over Vladimir Putin's decision to annexe the Crimea.

But Mr Blair will describe a wider crisis with its roots in "a radicalised and politicised view of Islam, an ideology that distorts and warps Islam's true message".

Prosecution case starts today against Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza, the one-eyed Muslim cleric with a hook for a hand, goes on trial in New York on charges that he provided support for al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Hamza faces 11 terrorism related counts, some of these include:

  • Trying to start a terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999
  • Charges that he aided militants who kidnapped a group of tourists in Yemen in 1998
  • Gathering funds from UK venues for the Taliban and to support training for jihad in Afghanistan.

The Egyptian-born preacher, who faces life in prison if convicted, told a judge at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday that he is innocent.

More: Home Secretary signing Qatada treaty with Jordan


Teen arrested over man who fled mosque in a burqa

A 17-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who was subject to an anti-terrorism measure and was last seen fleeing a London mosque in a burqa in November last year, Scotland Yard said.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was subject to a Tpim when he absconded from a London mosque. Credit: PA

Read: Terror suspect on the run is not 'direct threat to UK'

No briefing for UK officials on toothpaste bomb warning

by - Sports Editor
Security has been increased nationwide in Russia ahead of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Credit: Reuters

British officials in Sochi say they have not been briefed specifically by the UK government regarding a toothpaste explosive threat warning emanating from American security services.

They say the British security threat level is unchanged.

Read: US intelligence warns of 'toothpaste bombers' on airlines

US intelligence warns of 'toothpaste bombers'

The American government has sent advice to airlines flying into Russia, warning them of intelligence which suggests terrorists could smuggle explosives onto planes in toothpaste tubes, according to NBC.

Security in Sochi. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/Press Association Images

According to the US network, a statement from a Homeland Security official read:

"Out of an abundance of caution, [Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics.

"While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority."

An US official said there is no indication of threat to planes flying either to or within the United States, adding that any potential threat was limited to flights to Russia.


US warns airlines over 'toothpaste bomb' threat

Terrorists might be trying to smuggle explosives in toothpaste tubes onto planes heading to Russia, according to an advisory warning from the US government, NBC News reported.

A statement from a Homeland Security official said: "While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority."

The warning was sent from US security officials to airlines flying into Russia, which hosts the Sochi Winter Olympics from Friday.

Blair: Religious extremism 'is biggest source of conflict'

Former prime minister Tony Blair has warned terrorism motivated by religious extremism is growing and the West needs a global strategy to tackle it.

Mr Blair writes in The Observer that wars in the 21st Century will no longer be about extreme political ideology like the last.

Former prime minister Tony Blair.
Former prime minister Tony Blair said the West needs a global strategy to tackle terrorism. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

The Middle East peace envoy said the West must tackle conflicts by educating people about religious tolerance alongside security measures, including military action.

He writes: "The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion.

"It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating."

Tpims 'a bit like grounding a child'

Will Geddes
Security expert Will Geddes said Tpims were the equivalent of "grounding a child". Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Tpims are "a little bit like grounding a child", according to a security expert.

Will Geddes spoke to Daybreak about the controversial counter-terrorism measures, which he felt failed to rehabilitate alleged terror suspects.

"What is it doing to rehabilitate the individual? To try and diffuse the extremism?

"It is a little bit like grounding a child. If you ground them for two weeks they are probably going to try and climb out the window when mum and dad are asleep."

Read more: Counter-terrorism measures 'withering on the vine'

Tpims are 'some of the strongest possible protections'

Tpims provide "some of the strongest possible protections" against terrorists allowed by the court, the Home Office has said.

Dismissing criticism Tpims were not robust enough to deal with alleged terrorists, a spokesman for the department said:

Tpims were introduced because control orders were not working and their powers were being struck down by the courts.

They now provide some of the strongest possible protections that the courts will allow and the police and Security Service believe they have been effective in reducing the national security risk posed by a number of individuals.

But Tpims are just one weapon in the considerable armoury at the disposal of the police and Security Service to disrupt terrorist activity.

– A Home Office spokesman

Read more: Tpims fail to 'serve any investigative function'

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